What’s the Problem with Dry Mouth?

Saliva is one of your best defenses against tooth decay and other dental problems. This moisture helps you chew food, rinses food particles out of your teeth, and neutralizes acid that attacks your enamel. Dry mouth (xerostomia) occurs when your mouth is not producing enough saliva. This condition can be more than just bothersome; it can actually be detrimental to your oral health. However, there are many treatments or remedies that can help prevent dry mouth to protect your oral health from related issues.

The Causes and Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth has various causes, including medication (a lack of moisture is a common side effect). In addition, dehydration, certain health conditions, smoking, and narcotics like methamphetamine can all lead to xerostomia.

Besides a lack of saliva, the condition can cause problems such as sores, hoarse throat, and bad breath. It can also lead to poor nutrition, as you might have trouble chewing or swallowing certain foods.

How Do You Treat Dry Mouth?

There are certain remedies you can try at home to help improve your condition. You can:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Chew sugar-free gum—this promotes the production of saliva.
  • Limit caffeine
  • Avoid tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption

Do not neglect your oral health at this time, as brushing, flossing, and other treatments can become more important if you are not producing enough saliva to help defend your mouth.

If these home remedies do not work, or if you have chronic xerostomia, you can schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss alternative treatment options. You may need to talk to your regular doctor, as well; if medication is the cause of your condition, then the doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative. In many cases, we can prescribe certain rinses or medication to help stimulate saliva, if needed.


As a native of northwest Indiana, Nicholas Cain, DDS, is dedicated to providing excellent general, preventive, and family dentistry services to the community that raised him. To schedule your appointment, call Healthy Smiles today at 219-938-2637.